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Transitions between Property Regimes

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  • Banner, Stuart

Abstract

What causes a society to reallocate property rights? The canonical explanation is the one offered by Harold Demsetz in "Toward a Theory of Property Rights"--that societies adopt new property regimes when some external shock alters the costs and benefits of an existing regime such that it becomes less efficient than the one that replaces it. As others have noted, however, the Demsetz account fails to specify any mechanism by which the transition can actually occur, and the existence of such a mechanism is not obvious, because the transition is likely to be costly. This paper examines the empirical operation of one such mechanism, used in the massive reallocation of property rights that took place throughout Europe and many of its colonies roughly between 1500 and 1900, in which functionally organized property systems were converted into spatially organized systems. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Banner, Stuart, 2002. "Transitions between Property Regimes," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 359-371, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:31:y:2002:i:2:p:s359-71
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    Cited by:

    1. John Boyce & David Bruner, 2012. "Property rights out of anarchy? The Demsetz hypothesis in a game of conflict," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 95-120, June.
    2. Kevin Guerin, 2004. "Theory vs Reality: Making Environmental Use Rights Work in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 04/06, New Zealand Treasury.
    3. Mwangi, Esther, 2007. "Subdividing the Commons: Distributional Conflict in the Transition from Collective to Individual Property Rights in Kenya's Maasailand," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 815-834, May.
    4. Beyene, Fekadu, 0. "Driving forces in the expansion of enclosure among pastoral and agropastoral herders in Ethiopia," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 49.
    5. Mwangi, Esther, 2006. "Subdividing the commons: the politics of property rights transformation in Kenya's Maasailand," CAPRi working papers 46, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Livia Navone, 2013. "Property versus political holdouts: the case of the TGV rail line Lyon–Budapest in Italy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 409-426, June.

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